2&3/4/16. We have spent Saturday and Sunday somewhat in limbo while we cogitated on what to do next. We have stayed at the campsite on the edge of Frankston but have gone into the centre of the city by train, battling the disruption and bus replacement services caused by the removal of several level crossings along the way.
The journey into Melbourne has been somewhat of a trial even for two “railophiles” like us – at least in terms of time taken up with travelling – as it has taken the best part of 2 hours each way. On the other hand, the cost (just over £3 return each) has appealed to the accountant side of our nature!
The centre of Melbourne has been most enjoyable over the two days despite Christine feeling just a little bit under the weather. The Botanic Gardens are most impressive – on a par with but very different to those of Christchurch. We clearly taught the antipodeans a thing or two about horticulture. And, as in Christchurch, it’s free.
The planting here reflects the more tropical climate, being very lush and verdant, but is still recognisably Anglo-Saxon in manner. We could happily visit these gardens on a very regular basis discovering something new every time.
The State Library of Victoria is set in another impressive building, like that in NSW. The main reading room is lovely, but perhaos not as awe inspiring as the one in Sydney. Stephen would argue that the wifi technology is better here but Christine, still seething at time spent staring at a screen doing absolutely nothing, has a very different view!
The vibrant and bustling Queen Victoria Market was fun, and prices of fruit, vegetables and meat became very reasonable towards the end of the day.
We also made full use of the free tram area in the centre – just part of the most extensive tram network in the world, apparently – although we are somewhat sceptical of this claim given the scope of some of those of cities in northern Europe such as Munich, Berlin, Copenhagen, and Vienna.
And what about those plans?, I hear you ask. Well, we are going to cycle into the centre tomorrow (Monday) and stay a night in the youth hostel, our first night under a roof for more than two weeks. Then, Tuesday will see us jumping into a hire car (yes, really!) (and we WILL be considerate towards any cyclists we see!) and heading back towards Sydney, over 4 or 5 days, taking in a little of the inland area of the country as a contrast to the mainly coastal area we have seen so far.
This will give us the best part of a week in Sydney to prepare ourselves for the cruise! (We are talking buying a jacket and tie for Stephen and a dress for Christine!!!! – from a charity shop, I hasten to add – so that we can go to formal dinners.)